Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: Drew Estate x Caldwell All Out Kings Smash

22 Sep 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

When I reviewed this robusto collaboration almost a year and a half ago, I wasn’t a fan. Overall, I found it sharp on the throat with a fairly unpleasant taste. This stick, the last of a five-pack I purchased for the original review, has been sitting in my humidor ever since. I thought I’d see if resting had led to any improvements. I’d have to say it did. While the sharpness was still noticeable, it had lessened to a relatively small factor. The dirt and campfire tastes I didn’t like originally had also backed off. What was left was an earthy, nutty smoke with some sweetness. And while All Out Kings is not one I’d quickly reach for (especially at nearly $14), it does offer something different. But the fact that you need substantial patience results in my rating.

Verdict = Hold.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo Unexpected Passion

16 Aug 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

As an Avo fan, I was excited by news of a limited-production line called Unexpected with four blends. There’s little info on the tobaccos used in the four, other than one note per offering. For Passion (6 x 50, $10.50) it’s that one of the leaves is 25 years old. Whatever the composition, Passion nails that trademark Davidoff grassy, mushroom-y profile from start to finish. There are other flavors along the way, like a little pepper and a bit of sweetness. But they play second fiddle. Overall, I found this cigar to be just a little too much of the same thing. I’m interested in trying the other three Unexpected blends, though.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Avo

Cigar Review: Espinosa Alpha Dawg Short Churchill

14 Aug 2019

Even without the name and the black-and-white sketch of cigar maker Erik Espinosa on the box top, this cigar would stand out. The Habano Rosado wrapper is nearly flawless and has a nut-like pre-light aroma.

The profile begins with pepper, befitting the Nicaraguan binder and filler. Performance is excellent: solid burn, tight ash, lots of smoke, and a good draw. It does, however, burn a little fast.

There are quite a few changes along the way. The pepper recedes a bit after the start, giving way to woodsy notes and spice. Other flavors include a honey sweetness, espresso, and leather. Strength is generally in the upper range of medium, tending to increase somewhat as the cigar burns down.

I’ve smoked a box of the Short Churchills and found them very consistent from cigar to cigar.

Alpha Dawg comes in three sizes, all packaged in boxes of 10. The Short Churchills (6 x 48) list for $8.75 each. The two other sizes are a Corona Gorda (5.6 x 46) and Robusto (5 x 50).

The cigar began life as an event-only stick, chosen by attendees from three blends presented a few years ago at an event celebrating cigars from Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. According to Espinosa, demand pushed it into regular production.

I’ve gone on record before about silly cigar names. And I’d have to put Alpha Dawg into that category, though I probably should add an asterisk.

I can’t say I know Espinosa, but I have met and talked with him several times, and he’s an interesting, larger-than-life sort of guy. It’s that personality that makes me believe the name and presentation overall comes with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

The Alpha Dawg is an interesting, satisfying smoke, especially for those who like Nicaraguan tobacco and appreciate subtlety. I recommend the cigar and give it four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Avo Limited Edition 2013 The Dominant 13th

11 Aug 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

I came across this cigar recently at a local shop and immediately picked it up. While I couldn’t recall details, I did remember thoroughly enjoying one shortly after its release about six years ago. Age has done nothing but improve the Dominant 13th. The beautiful Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper covers a Dominican binder and a variety of Dominican filler leaves and tobacco from Peru. The complex, toro-sized (6 x 52) blend may have lost a bit of strength, but it’s incredibly smooth. Flavors, ranging from black pepper to a subtle sweetness, are balanced and enticing. If you spot a Dominant 13th, don’t hesitate to light up.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Davidoff of Geneva

News: Cigars International’s Next Step Is Florida

2 Aug 2019

Retail giant Cigars International is planning its first venture into the southeast with a new store just north of Tampa.

The move comes months after the retailer’s owner, Scandavanian Tobacco Group (STG), announced plans to shut Tampa operations for Thompson Cigar, which it bought last year for $62 million.

The new Florida store will continue Cigars International’s expansion efforts beyond its Pennsylvania roots. Last year, it opened a 6,000-square-foot shop in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

Florida and Pennsylvania are home to many online/catalog cigar retailers like Cigars International because neither state imposes a separate cigar tax.

In recent years, the Tampa area has seen moves by several cigar industry giants. Imperial Brands Casa de Montecristo bought and renamed Tampa Humidor in 2018, and Davidoff partnered with Jeff Borysiewicz, owner of Orlando-based Corona Cigar Co., to open a signature shop near the airport.

STG is a massive player in the tobacco market, especially through manufacturer General Cigar. Other holdings include Cigar.com, Cigars & Pipes online store, and a number of pipe tobacco and machine-made cigar brands.

It is in the process of winding down Thompson’s Tampa operations, where the company has operated since moving from Key West in 1920.

The new Cigars International store is proposed for a retail area north of Tampa near the intersection of interstates 75 and 275, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s not so much a cigar store, but a destination,” company president Craig Reynolds told the newspaper.

Plans call for opening next year.

George E

photo credit: Cigars International

Quick Smoke: My Father La Promesa Toro

21 Jul 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

Like so many cigars from Don José “Pepin” Garcia, La Promesa starts with a pleasing blast of pepper. Unlike some others, though, this one dials it back a bit before getting too far along. With an oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler, there’s a wide mix of flavors ranging from tobacco sweetness to leather and nuts. Strength is in the medium range. This new line from My Father Cigars comes in five sizes, with the Toro (6 x 52) running about $9.25. Originally introduced a few years ago in small numbers to qualify under FDA rules, La Promesa is now a full-scale release.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: My Father Cigars

Quick Smoke: Tatuaje Exclusive Series TAA 51st

12 Jul 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

I’ve found another cigar with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper that I like. With Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, it’s a rich, creamy smoke with chocolate and espresso overtones and none of the dirt taste I often associate with the San Andrés leaf. In addition to the wrapper, the band is also a major departure from Tatuaje’s past exclusives. This limited edition of 60,000 sticks—Tatuaje’s ninth for the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA)—comes as a robusto (5 x 52) with a retail price of about $12 each. This is one I highly recommend.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys